Ahead of the 2016 NBA All-Star weekend's opening events this evening, there have been a couple of changes amongst the participants in the Rising Star game and Skills Challenge.
Philadelphia 76ers second-year forward/center Nerlens Noel has been forced out of the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge due to injury and will be replaced by Devin Booker, the Phoenix Suns' first-round pick from the 2015 draft.
Meanwhile, Denver Nuggets rookie Emmanuel Mudiay will replace Patrick Beverley in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge set to take place on Saturday night - an ankle injury keeping the Houston Rockets veteran from competing.
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Noel, one of the few bright spots in another disappointing campaign for the 76ers, will miss the Rising Star game due to tendinitis in his right knee. His replacement, though, is having a solid season himself in his first year in the NBA.
Averaging 10.6 points in 48 games - 15.2 points when starting for Phoenix - Booker will take his place amongst the best first and second-year players from the U.S. as they take on their 'around the world' counterparts.
Emmanuel Mudiay will line up opposite Booker on Friday night as part of that 'Around the World' team, and his All-Star involvement has now been extended into Saturday.
The rookie will take part in the three-round, obstacle course that is the NBA Skills Challenge and will test his dribbling, passing, three-point-shooting and agility against seven other stars of the league.
Ranking first amongst rookies in assists and fifth in scoring so far this season, the guard is certainly an exciting prospect to watch in the competition.
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